Yelp: Best Practices for Small Businesses

by Emily Retherford

2 min read

Yelp reviews by satisfied customers can make the crowdsourced review website one of your favorite tools for helping other people to find your business, but negative reviews can do a lot of damage and drive customers to your competitors. While you don’t have total control over what people post on your Yelp small business page, you can do your part to ensure that the customer reviews on your page generate organic buzz about your business and bring in new customers. Here’s a quick guide to best practices for managing your small business page on Yelp.

Encourage Reviews

Positive organic Yelp reviews are an extremely effective way to drive sales for your business. Internet users turn to Yelp when they are looking for information to help them make a buying decision. Nearly all Yelp users choose to purchase goods or services from businesses they find on Yelp.

Don’t leave your positive Yelp reviews to chance. Begin by setting up a business page, and log into Yelp to interact in the interface and track metrics using the Yelp mobile app. Offering customers incentives to leave reviews about your business violates Yelp’s terms of service. You can, however, tell customers or clients about your Yelp page and ask them to post reviews if they’re happy with your product or service.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Most business owners have heard the horror stories about the impact of negative Yelp reviews. While some reviewers might have a genuine reason to be unhappy, others might be trolls or even the competition playing foul to keep customers away from your business. The impact of negative reviews has quite a bit to do with how you handle them.

Monitor your Yelp page using Google Alerts so you receive a notification when a comment is published. Respond publicly to negative reviewers in a positive and professional manner by thanking them for their feedback. If possible, offer to work with the poster to remedy the situation. Respond only once to fraudulent negative reviews, and don’t engage in public or private arguments with trolls.

Optimize Your Yelp Listing

A bare Yelp page won’t provide visitors with the information they need and might make users reluctant to post reviews. To encourage user participation and engagement, you need an attractive and informative Yelp page. Optimize your Yelp listing and make it stand out to visitors by including the following information:

  • Relevant details, including your location, business hours, phone number and a link to your website.

  • A list of the services you offer and price ranges.

  • The forms of payment your business accepts.

  • Photos of your business products and the team behind them. Pictures are important and make visitors spend more time on your page. For example, if you’re in the food service business, add high-quality photos of your best-selling items to your listing.

References & Resources

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